Symbolic: Workers tighten locks
on the railway link
Workers tightened locks on the track across the demilitarised zone (DMZ) amid applause from some 100 people from both sides.

 

Communist North Korea marked the event by putting on a gala show at a time when US pressure is mounting on Pyongyang over its nuclear ambitions.

 

But South Korea, a staunch US ally, put up a low-key show.

 

“Having cleared barbed wires and mines in the demilitarised zone (DMZ), we have restored a national artery”, said South Korea’s chief delegate Cho Myung-Kyoon, who directs the unification ministry.

 

His North Korean counterpart, Kim Byong-Chil said the railway line would lead to rising feelings of brotherhood  and would allow prosperity to flow again.

 

The ceremony was held on the third anniversary of a historic summit between the then South Korean President Kim Dae-Jung and North Korean leader Kim Jong-II.

 

The two leaders had then signed a landmark declaration for peace and reconciliation. However, South Korea’s concerns over North Korea’s nuclear ambitions led to delays in the restoration of the cross-border rail and road links.

 

The ceremony came a day after the United States, Japan and South Korea vowed to curb alleged criminal activities by the North, including drug smuggling and money counterfeiting.